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David K. Skelly
Yale University
School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
370 Prospect Street
New Haven, CT 06511 USA

Yale FES



David K. Skelly

Office: Kroon Hall, 195 Prospect St, Room 208
Lab: Greeley Laboratory, 370 Prospect St, Room 119
Office Phone: (203) 432-3603
Lab Phone: (203) 432-5321
Fax: (203) 432-3929

A.B. Biology 1987 Middlebury College, Vermont
Ph.D. Biology 1992 University of Michigan

Ecologists are under pressure to scale up their science to deal with larger areas and longer spans of time.  At the same time, ecologists and their constituency demand rigor and mechanistic understanding.  The goals of large scale ecology are a natural tension point because of the inherent difficulties attendant to linking large scale patterns with underlying mechanisms.  My research is focused on this interface. 

Most of my work has centered on pond-breeding amphibians.  These organisms are an excellent case study in the difficulties and promise confronted by ecologists today.  By the late 1980's amphibians were held up as a model system in ecology.  As a result of more than two decades of steady effort, some of the most rigorous, complex and informative experiments in community ecology had been completed using larval amphibians.

Nevertheless, in 1990 when reports of disappearing populations became widespread, amphibian ecologists were left entirely flatfooted.  We had very little concrete to say about the situation.  More than a decade later, things are only marginally better.  This has happened, in large part, because like most of their colleagues, amphibian ecologists have a generally poor knowledge of the patterns and mechanisms of large scale distributions. I have been working toward filling this gap via a combination of experimentation and observation.  Below, I briefly sketch five areas of research:



Werner, E. E., D. K. Skelly, R. A. Relyea, C. J. Davis, and K. L. Yurewicz. in press. The abundance-occupancy relationship: a metacommunity perspective. PLoS ONE.

Richardson, J. L., M. C. Urban, D. Bolnick, and D. K. Skelly. 2014. Microgeographic adaptation and the spatial scale of evolution. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 29:165-176.  Link

Skelly, D. K., S. R. Bolden, and L. K. Freidenburg. 2014. Experimental canopy removal enhances diversity of vernal pond amphibians.  Ecological Applications 24:340-345.  Link

Smits, A. P., D. K. Skelly, and S. R. Bolden. 2014. Amphibian intersex in suburban landscapes.  Ecosphere 5:art11.  PDF  Link

Urban, M.C., P.L. Zarnetske, and D. K. Skelly. 2013. Moving forward: Dispersal and species interactions determine biotic responses to climate change.  Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1297:44-60. Link

Skelly, D. K. 2013. Learning from deformed frogs (book review). BioScience 63:140-141. Link

Skelly, D. K. 2013. G. Evelyn Hutchinson. Oxford Biographies. Oxford University Press, New York: Oxford University Press.

Balmori, D. and D. K. Skelly. 2012. Crossing to sustainability: a role for design in overcoming road effects. Ecological Restoration 30:363-367 (Images: 30:350-352).  Link

Rogalski, M. A., and D. K. Skelly. 2012. Positive effects of nonnative invasive Phragmites australis on Larval Bullfrogs. PLoS ONE 7:e44420.  Link

Zarnetske, P. L., D. K. Skelly, and M. C. Urban. 2012. Biotic Multipliers of Climate Change. Science 336:1516-1518.  Link

Hoverman, J. T., C. J. Davis, E. E. Werner, D. K. Skelly, R. A. Relyea, and K. L. Yurewicz. 2011. Environmental gradients and the structure of freshwater snail communities. Ecography 34:1049-1058. Link

Skelly, D. K., D. M. Post, and M. D. Smith (Editors). 2011. The Art of Ecology: Writings of G. Evelyn Hutchinson. Yale University Press, New Haven and London.  Link

Warren, R. J., II, D. K. Skelly, O. J. Schmitz, and M. Bradford. 2011. Universal ecological patterns in college basketball communities. PLoS ONE 6(3): e17342.  Link